Christian Living

Musings for the Masses: Making Complex Ideas Easy to Understand

Author Alan Shlemon Published on 04/20/2013

Alan’s monthly letter for October 2007

Dear Friend,

I strive to make complex ideas accessible to anyone. That’s one of my goals when I speak. After completing a four week series on evolution at Bel Air Presbyterian Church, a woman said to me, “I can’t believe I understood your whole series. Thanks for making this subject actually understandable to me.”

The topic of evolution can be difficult to grasp. To fully comprehend it, you might have to study geology, paleontology, genetics, zoology, and biology—all of which can be complex. Or, you can take one of my evolution classes. I’ll clarify all the confusing jargon. I’ll distill all the pertinent information. I’ll teach you all the best arguments. And I’ll do this in the allotted time. Yes, I’ll be winsome and gracious, too.

That’s one of the hallmarks of my work with Stand to Reason. I take philosophically or scientifically complex subjects and make them accessible to people who aren’t specifically trained in philosophy or science.

At the same time, I do the subject justice. I don’t oversimplify the issue to the point of misrepresentation. I distill the crucial points into bite-sized portions, shedding the superfluous ideas.

I think this is a valuable goal for anyone, especially if you’re speaking with a non-believer. They don’t want to be blasted with complex terminology and concepts—they want to understand the ideas. Your goal should be to make your point accessible to the listener. That’s what a good ambassador does.

In fact, an ambassador of Christ does many things. At Stand to Reason we’ve outlined ten qualities of an ambassador that I’d like you to read. I’ve provided you with a list on the back. I think it’s important for you to know them because of what my work entails. I’m not just trying to teach people ideas. I’m trying to develop a particular kind of individual—an ambassador of Christ.

Together, we’re training individuals to do the work Christ has prepared for them. Your partnership means a lot to me and to the lives of these newly trained ambassadors.

For the Kingdom,

Alan Shlemon